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2020 was certainly a year on the calendar

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December 2020 calendar

According to my blog post schedule, this is the final post of the year. It’s nothing more than a coincidence, but making it through the worst year in living memory could also be considered a sign. While it’s true that calendars are arbitrary, Western tradition says this is the end of one more cycle, so let’s reflect a bit on 2020.

This year I published two books based on SQL Server: one was the nearly 1,000-page tome SQL Server 2019 Administration Inside Out, for which I was the lead author, and SQL Server on Azure Virtual Machines which started life very differently as a book focused on Linux.

I also wrote more than 50 blog posts for the fifth year running, and was awarded an MVP from Microsoft for the fourth year running. I continue to be stunned and amazed to count myself as a member of this illustrious community. If I counted all the words on my blog it would have been like releasing two more books; I think I’m done writing books for a while.

Early in the year I had decided to reduce the amount of travel I was doing — even before the pandemic — and then in March I cancelled plans to travel to SQLBits in the UK. Counterbalancing that, I ended up travelling to South Africa for a family emergency in October. Sleeping in a face mask on a transatlantic flight wasn’t fun, but it worked.

I got back home a few days before my PASS Summit pre-conference session, which went well aside from my running out of content 20 minutes early. Thankfully 20 minutes in a 6-hour day isn’t terrible, and I will plan better next time. My regular 75-minute session later in the week was a hit, with over 200 people in attendance. I also went with a different style, switching to full screen camera to address the attendees from time to time. In the review of that session that’s where I got the most praise, so I will continue doing that in future.

Also, in March, the city of Victoria on Vancouver Island hosted the very last in-person SQLSaturday. PASS, the organization that owns SQLSaturday, is coming to an end in two weeks from now. Speaking of PASS, I was briefly the Canadian Regional Mentor after taking over from Melody, and also a member of the Nominations Committee for electing a new board. Sorry Steph.

Work has been good. I’ve got a 1200-word post in my drafts about a project I helped out on which will be coming soon (the project and the post). A lot of the stuff I do is covered by NDAs, but this one I have permission to speak about. It was quite exciting, not least because it has almost nothing to do with SQL Server.

Other things I did in 2020 that had nothing to do with SQL Server were auditions for voice work (I am, after all, an actor). I even landed a gig as the voice of one of those corporate videos for a large technology company, and auditioned as a voice for the Tokyo Olympics marketing campaign, though that didn’t come through.

I honestly don’t know what to expect in 2021. There have been times where I don’t want to think about it, times where I’ve tried to drown it out, times where I’ve broken down emotionally at the thought of so many people dying. We can’t pretend that COVID-19 hasn’t taken a toll on all of us, and to excise it from our writing because it isn’t “professional” is ludicrous. This blog is mostly about databases, sure, but there’s a human being writing it, and humans beings reading it.

I repeat that 2020 has been the worst year in living memory, and ignoring it for the sake of retaining a professional veneer is foolhardy nonsense. We’ve been tested to the extreme, and we can only bring about some semblance of humanity by working together.

Look after yourself and those around you. Don’t forget to appreciate what you have. Here’s to 2021.

Photo by Waldemar Brandt on Unsplash.